Blog Post

Why you need to love your gut

I don’t know about you, but after the recent spat of holidays, I’m not sure what day it is let alone what I did yesterday. It in times like these I really wish I had a second brain…and you know what? We actually do! Some people call it intuition, a “gut feeling” or as science now acknowledges a second brain.

In fact, our gut guides or misguides (depending on its condition) our actual brain, our body functions, our emotions and more. So it makes sense to pay attention to your gut!

It’s science

In recent months, the top story on the news, medical and social media sources has been the importance of “good” bacteria in your gut. The fact is, there are both good and bad bacteria in and around our body but finding a healthy balance is key.

In our gut, there is a need for a healthy dose of good bacteria to help keep the bad stuff at bay. Probiotics (from the words “pro” and “biota” meaning “for life”) have long been recognised as the best way to balance your gut.

According to Harvard Medical School (2005), “There is a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting you can treat and even prevent some illnesses with foods and supplements containing certain kinds of live bacteria.” With 80% of your entire immune system located in your digestive tract, keeping it healthy is essential and taking some form of probiotic is the first step in doing so.

Second brain

It makes sense that our gut would influence our digestive tract, but why then would it be called our “second brain”?

Our digestive system is the largest part of our neurological system, called the “enteric nervous system” or our second brain. So there is truth to the reason people say, “When you have a gut reaction to something, listen!” because it really is telling you something.

More than 40 different diseases have been linked to a bacterial imbalance in the gut, and it may surprise you to know these include anxiety and depression. And it’s no wonder because the bacteria in your gut create 95% of your body’s serotonin!

How do you get a healthy gut?

The best and most natural way to effectively change our gut’s bacteria, and our health, is to do the following:

Cut out the crap sugar

Not only does crap sugar add fat in and around your gut, but it also feeds all the bad bacteria living there. One common foe is candida, and reducing or eliminating crap sugar is key to kicking candida to the kerb.

Reduce your stress and get more sleep

Easier said than done in today’s world, I know, but these really go hand-in-hand in reducing the acid and bad bacteria in your gut, as well as allow your body to heal itself while you dream of unicorns and rainbows.

Limit antibiotics

When antibiotics are used as absolutely required, they can be a blessing. However, overuse and misuse not only decreases their effectiveness when we need them most, but wrecks havoc on our gut “brain” by virtually telling it not to heal thyself, and that throws everything out of whack.

Get dirty

I’m actually talking about real dirt here! We have become a nation of over-sanitisers and therefore eliminate our body’s innate and natural ability to fight germs and develop our own natural antibodies to defeat them naturally in the future. When we sanitise everything, our own gut gets lazy, and it is less likely to be battle-ready when worse germs come our way.

Eat clean and fill up with fibre

If you’re reading this, this statement is probably like singing to a choir, right? But we really need to keep our diet full of fresh, organic ingredients, as well as ensuring it is well balanced. Whenever possible, eat food in their natural state (i.e. if you juice, keep the pulp!) and don’t overcook food, therefore eliminating their natural health-enhancing qualities.

Shake your groove thing

Your gut really, really, REALLY wants and needs to you get moving and break a sweat! Exercise actually changes the microbiota in your gut to allow it to improve its immune functions, metabolism and yep, get rid of some of that outside “padding” as well – winning!

So eat well, exercise and sleep more because two brains are better than one!

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